May 4, 2009
By Amy DixonNotre Dame Sports Information
In characterizing Lauren Buck, a senior on the women’s rowing team, versatile is an understatement. While she has made significant contributions to the rowing program and its rise to national prominence, her influence has extended well beyond her role on the team and the athletic department. Whether it is within the confines of the biology lab, the open expanse of the St. Joseph River, or the choir loft of the Basilica, Buck has made substantial contributions to the University of Notre Dame community as a whole.
Buck has been a key component of the success of the varsity eight-woman boat since joining the crew during her sophomore year. An accomplished high school athlete, Buck seized the opportunity to continue her athletic success after arriving on campus her freshman year. A native of Flint, Mich., Buck earned 10 letters during an accomplished prep career at Powers Catholic, where she was a member of four regional-champion soccer teams and two regional champions in basketball. Although she was inexperienced and uncertain of what to expect, rowing was the perfect opportunity for Buck to carry on her athletic involvement and it fostered the team environment that she had become accustomed to.
“I had always been part of a team in high school and that was something I wanted to continue here,” Buck said. “I decided to give rowing a shot. I ended up falling in love with it right away. The girls that I met freshman year are still some of my best friends here.”
After helping the novice eight boat to the a second-place finish at the BIG EAST Championships during her freshman campaign, Buck brought her talents to the varsity level as a sophomore, where she has experienced continued success. In her first varsity season, Buck helped the eight boat win the BIG EAST Championship and advance to the Petite Finals of the NCAA Tournament. The crew followed up the 2007 campaign with the boat’s third consecutive gold medal at the 2008 BIG EAST Championships during Buck’s junior season. Voted a team captain for her senior season, Buck has embraced her expanded role on the team. This season, Buck completed a perfect BIG EAST career, capturing her third BIG EAST Championship in as many varsity seasons. Despite her athletic success with the team, it is her role as a team captain and the team’s representative to the Student Athlete Advisory Council that has had the greatest impact on her.
“It was a great honor because we have a lot of leadership in our senior class and everyone brings significant contribution to the table,” she said. “Being a captain this year, more than standing out individually, my emphasis has been organizing everyone toward achieving our group goals. Everyone has stepped up.”
Under her leadership, not only has the team worked together in pursuit of athletic success, but has dedicated itself to helping others achieve similar success. This season, the team began a partnership with South Bend’s Clay Intermediate School. Through participation in the mentoring program, each member of the team dedicates an hour each week to help the school’s teens overcome personal, social or academic difficulties. While some of the team members serve as tutors to individual students, others aid entire classrooms. As role models, teachers, and friends, the team has been extremely instrumental in influencing and improving the lives of the students at the school.
While her athleticism and leadership have resulted in significant contributions to the rowing program and are impressive enough, Buck’s achievements in the competitive academic environment at the University are even more striking. A member of the University’s prestigious Glynn Honors Program, Buck has taken on one of the most rigorous academic programs offered at the University. As part of the selective five-year dual degree program combining the fields of science and business, Buck is working toward a Bachelor’s degree in biology and a Masters of Business Administration simultaneously. She is on schedule to complete the program in May of 2010.
Buck, a 2009 Byron V. Kanaley Award winner, also conducts biological research under the supervision of Dr. Rob Stahelin at the Indiana University Medical School. While she has enjoyed her experience in the lab, Buck admitted that she would prefer to combine her interests in science and business to pursue a career in the finance or marketing divisions of a pharmaceutical company.
Although she admits that balancing her studies with rowing can be stressful, Buck has enjoyed the challenges.
“I like keeping busy and I like the pressure of having a lot of different things to fit in,” Buck explained. “I came here for the academic opportunities, but I like being involved in a variety of different things.”
As if her academic and athletic endeavors are not enough, Buck is also a member of the celebrated Notre Dame Folk Choir. Although it seems as though she couldn’t possibly have the time or energy to add another commitment to her already hectic schedule, her involvement with the choir is an escape from her other, more strenuous commitments.
“That is just my way to jump identities and have a release from everything else.” said Buck. “There is a wide variety of people and it has been fun to meet a different group.”
Through her ambitious academic program, her athletic involvement, or her musical ability, Buck has had an impact on all aspects of life that the University prides on. While it was the academic opportunities that attracted her attention, she has certainly taken advantage of each occasion to share her diverse talents to benefit the greater community, and the community is certainly fortunate she has.